The extreme snow event of the past week has caused hardships at the Goldstream Boathouse Marina, including their floating boathouse coming loose.
The boathouse recently had new flotation devices installed by an outside contractor and the frozen water dislodged one of the devices after the boathouse partially broke away from its mooring.
“It’s a catastrophe,” said Alida Seymonsbergen, marina owner for the past 30 years. “In the first wind it came loose. We can’t remove the boat out of the boathouse due to frozen ice.”
The 100-year-old boat, inside the boathouse, was being restored and is surrounded in thick ice. Seymonsbergen described the incident as scary because the boathouse came close to slamming into the boat moored next to it during the strong winds. Marina staff are not able to move any of the boats to safety because they are firmly frozen in the ice.
“The owner is in Mexico so we’ve been talking back and forth,” Seymonsbergen noted.
The frozen conditions are also hampering repair efforts as crews tasked with fixing the boathouse, and rescuing the boat inside, usually make their approach from the sea.
“We’ve had an incredible amount of snow. But it is absolutely beautiful,” said Seymonsbergen.
But underneath the beauty, the marina and the water-based residents have faced other difficulties.
“The few people living on houseboats are getting a bit concerned. There’s no [piped] water on the boats as it’s frozen. There is water at the marina so they come here,” she said.
The marina’s main priority is to clear the docks of snow so boat owners can reach their vessels.
However, their driveway is covered in ice and is currently only accessible by 4×4 vehicles. On Monday morning it was blocked by cars that had been abandoned by drivers struggling to make it home, but these have now been removed.
The marina staff are trying to stay cheerful and are ferrying people up and down the driveway.
They also keep a big pot of soup bubbling for houseboat residents, boat owners and passersbys.
Usually, a menagerie of animals can be seen from the marina’s docks, but the birds and seals have been absent this week, replaced by an otter scurrying across the ice and two confused seagulls pushed backwards across the ice by the strong winds.
Other marinas elsewhere on the Saanich Peninsula seem to have fared better, with Port Sidney and North Saanich marinas reporting no significant disruption.